High-level Event: Tackling COVID-19 together through the ACT-Accelerator
30 September | 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. EDT
The high-level event on the ACT-Accelerator, convened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the governments of the United Kingdom and South Africa, and the World Health Organization marked the progress that has been made in global collaboration towards ACT-Accelerator and particularly its COVAX Facility.
The event aimed to build stronger political consensus for a coordinated global response to COVID-19, and champion the importance and urgency of equitable access to new tools, especially effective vaccines. Ultimately, there needs to be a step-change in support for the ACT-Accelerator to deliver the tools needed to accelerate the end of the pandemic.
Speakers included UN Secretary-General António Guterres; WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus; President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa; Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Dominic Raab of the UK; Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway; Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada; Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates; and World Bank Group President David Malpass.
As an outcome, the event reaffirmed global commitment to the vision for the ACT-Accelerator and kicked off a series of high-level events through December 2020 that will ensure it is fully resourced to deliver the tools the world needs to bring an end to this global crisis.
The groundbreaking Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) coalition was launched on 24 April by the World Health Organization (WHO) with the European Commission, France, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, supported by the UN Secretary-General and multiple Heads of Government, with the vision of creating an end-to-end global solution to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
It brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, and philanthropists and global organizations including CEPI, FIND, Gavi, The Global Fund, Unitaid, Wellcome and the World Bank.
ACT-Accelerator has four pillars of action - from the development, production to equitable distribution and accessibility of tests and treatment:
1. Diagnostics: train healthcare professions, develop and deliver high-quality rapid tests and carry out testing particularly in low and middle-income countries
2. Therapeutics: develop and distribute treatment and prevention tools
3. Vaccines (COVAX): speed up the search for an effective vaccine as well as build robust manufacturing, supply and distribution capabilities
4. Health Systems: strengthen systems to ensure that vital tools reach people who need them
The ACT-Accelerator combines public and private sector expertise and institutions from around the world to fast-track the development and equitable distribution of COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. It draws on the experience of leading public health organizations.
Since its launch, the ACT-Accelerator has harnessed the international public health ecosystem in a nimble structure that is already delivering concrete results, accelerating the testing of vaccine candidates, creating a COVAX Global Vaccines Facility, evaluating dozens of new diagnostics, scaling up a new therapeutic, and establishing consensus on the international allocation of these products.
The launch of the ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council on 10 September was the final step in establishing the overall ACT-Accelerator ecosystem and its enabling structure. The ACT-Accelerator must now move quickly out of its start-up phase to leverage this impressive early progress for impact at scale.